The Berwind Property Group plan for a development bordering state routes 252 and 3 in Newtown Township, Pa. remains on the drawing board with the new hurdle that those concerned about congestion at the intersection now run the township.
The township settled with BPG two years ago to develop the 219 acre site that was once part of the campus of the Charles E. Ellis School For Girls but a lawsuit by rival developer Claude de Botton stopped the project cold.
BPG has filed a right-to-know request hoping to find incriminating emails showing that members of the present board of supervisors had communication they should not have had regarding de Botton and BPG’s project.
De Botton is developing a town center a few miles to west similar to that proposed by BPG.
I’ve met de Botton and I have a lot of respect for him as a man and as a developer, and I’m sure BPG is a responsible developer as well although their people skills can use some improving.
While one can never be certain as to what another’s primary motivation is, the anti-congestion faction that runs Newtown certainly has a legitimate issue. The roads of Newtown– more often than not referred to as Newtown Square which is the post office address for most residents of the township — become almost a parking lot during the rush hours. This affects a rather large part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area since Route 3, aka West Chester Pike, is a feeder road for the Blue Route and Route 252 is one for routes 1 and 30.
The tragedy here is the remarkable shortsightedness shown by officials at the municipal and state level to make traffic flow a priority over commercial matters while there was a lot of open space and before anybody put any development plans on the table. The same can be said about the development of Route 322 and Baltimore Pike in Concord.
It’s still not to late in Newtown for the state to step and make traffic a priority. The stores have not been erected and the parking lots have not been paved.
BPG’s tract is northwest of the intersection but it doesn’t include the actual northwest corner. That belongs to de Botton. For a bit of irony if the powers-that-be demand a widening of the intersection or an underpass, he would be the one more affected.